Enabling poor rural people
to overcome poverty

New Delhi, 31 July 2014 – The President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, will arrive in India on Monday, 4 August on a 5–day official visit to meet various Union Ministers, including the Minister of Finance, Mr. Arun Jaitley, and Rural Development Minister, Mr. Nitin Gadkari, to discuss how rural transformation and gender empowerment are vital to sustainably reduce poverty and drive inclusive growth.

Nwanze's visit to India comes on the heels of Member States forwarding to the United Nations General Assembly a set of proposed goals that consider the economic, social and environmental elements necessary to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for future generations. The goals include promoting sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment and the management of natural resources. In addition, the proposed goals outline advancing “decent work for all” and a pledge to reduce inequality within and among countries.

“One of the causes of poverty is inequality, both between rural and urban areas, and women and men,” Nwanze said prior to arriving in India. “If we are to eradicate hunger and poverty, we need to level the playing field by empowering poor rural people to take charge of their own development and create policy environments that increase investment in them.”

With an annual population growth rate of 1.3 per cent, India is projected to become the most populous country in the world by 2035. Since more than half of India’s population is under the age of 25 and many are looking for work, it will be critical to transform rural areas into vibrant places that give young women and men opportunities.

“The youth and women of India are some of its greatest assets,” Nwanze said. “If we invest in them, they will get the job done.”

IFAD has been working in India for more than 30 years and has financed 26 projects for a total value of US$2.48 billion of which IFAD has contributed $877.3 million, directly benefiting 4.3 million households.

In rural India, agriculture and related sectors employ more than 90 per cent of the total female labour force. Working with the government of India, IFAD aims to improve the lives of women. As a result of IFAD-supported work in the country more than 116,000 self-help groups with 1.5 million members have been formed. These women’s groups have proven to be an effective way to reduce gender-based violence, change social attitudes and enable women to start up small businesses.

While in the country, Nwanze will be speaking about the changing role of women in the economic transformation of family farming at a regional conference organized by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation. The event will be open to the media.

On his final day in the country (9 August), Nwanze will visit the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) headquartered in Hyderabad, which conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.


On 5 August, the IFAD President will give a lecture at the Trust for Advancement of Agricultural Sciences Foundation in New Delhi on the importance of research for agricultural development, an issue that the Fund champions. Through regional grants to research institutions, IFAD has contributed to a large number of pro-poor research solutions, such as stress-tolerant-rice seeds and flood-resistant rice carrying the Sub1 gene. The event is open to media.

Press release No.: IFAD/50/2014

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided about US$15.8 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached some 430 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.